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Why Cloud Engineers Are Exactly What Industrial Software Developers Need Right now

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Cognite Senior Principal Architect and Cloud Engineer, Alex Brasetvik

Alex Brasetvik joined Cognite as a Senior Principal Architect in April 2020. He made the jump from Elastic, where engineering is distributed by default, and was looking forward to working in Cognite’s high-paced office environment. While the COVID-19 lockdown delayed that plan for a few weeks, Alex was able to take on Cognite’s one-week onboarding process virtually and was quickly up and running with his team.

“Cognite is very international and a lot more diverse than the average Norwegian tech company,” says Alex. “We’ve attracted talent from lots of different backgrounds and industries. Given the problems we’re trying to solve—fusing data-ops and heavy industries—this diversity is necessary. There are so many cool things that I knew nothing about before I got here. Now, I get to learn something new every day.”

And not a moment too soon. Alex’s experience as a cloud engineer is exactly what Cognite needs right now.

“Cognite provides a data platform used to make mission-critical decisions for heavily regulated industries. Oil & Gas and Power & Utilities companies have hard requirements on the availability, durability and residency of their data,” explains Alex. “When things go wrong with the servers that host the data other things rely on, problems can cascade quickly.”

In his role with the Office of the CTO, Alex focuses on the parts of Cognite’s infrastructure that hold the data, and helps decide how we can securely, and reliably run large amounts of clusters across different public and private clouds at scale. His experience at Elastic is a big asset.

“At Elastic, I handled the automation of tens of thousands of Elasticsearch clusters across thousands of servers on several cloud providers,” says Alex. “This meant I had to be aware of the wide breadth of things that could go wrong. I had to think about it in advance and prepare Elastic for success, as well as know how to mitigate failure.”

Alex has always been interested in complex cloud architectures. As a master’s student at NTNU, he co-founded a start-up with a fellow student. “We essentially played around with open source search technologies for a few years,” says Alex. “Then we narrowed our focus to making a hosted Elasticsearch service. That company was eventually acquired by Elastic, and my team formed the basis of what’s now Elastic Cloud.”

After 5 years of remote work for Elastic, Alex was ready for a change.

“I was impressed by the team Cognite has put together – both in terms of talent and diversity,” says Alex. “I was also excited by the challenge they are out to solve.”

Today, Alex works in the Office of the CTO at Cognite to tackle one of our biggest challenges to date. As Cognite transitions from a service-heavy business model to one truly centered on products, all technology needs to be able to run across many cloud providers, as well as in the customer’s own data centers. The demands of our customers will only increase in this space, as they come to the plate with lots of databases and search engines.

“Meeting these demands across a wide variety of public and private clouds means ensuring we can provide our capabilities reliably ‘as a service’ to Cognite’s product teams,” says Alex. And he adds, “That’s why we’re hiring. If these challenges sound fun, we might just have the job for you!

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